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Idaho company premieres movie studio-on-wheels

Meridian-based Silverdraft unveiled a new mobile movie studio that it expects to be used on big-time Hollywood film productions.

The company, based in the old Coors warehouse on Eagle Road, brought its new “supercomputer-on-wheels” to downtown Boise for a round of media interviews on Nov. 18 before it moves the high-tech trailer to Hollywood for testing and demos.

The portable studio, called Mobileviz, includes a battery of editing and visual effects equipment and a computer system hooked into 80 of Micron Technology Inc.’s blisteringly fast solid-state drive memory devices.

Co-founders Amy Gile and Sandra Cavanaugh, who both have extensive Hollywood ties, have been working with veteran film companies to create a system that gives directors and film crews instantaneous access to footage on equipment normally reserved for brick-and-mortar studios.

“There’s that instant gratification thing,” Gile said. “It’s like a big toy box where everybody can do everything at the same time.”

Silverdraft’s partners include Los Angeles-area companies Pixomondo, a visual effects studio, and The Third Floor Inc., a company that has helped directors like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas review images on set.

Solid-state technology like Micron has developed opened up the possibility of transporting the equipment over rough terrain because the devices are so impervious to shock, said Steve Hendricks, Silverdraft president.

Silverdraft is certain that it will soon have competitors trying to put together similar mobile technology. Company officials say all the Hollywood studios are looking to imitate director James Cameron, who demonstrated the capabilities of on-set technology with the system he invented to make $300 million-plus Avatar.

Gile said testing on Mobileviz will be conducted at a major Hollywood studio, and the company has attracted interest from an Academy Award-winning director for an upcoming production, though Silverdraft officials wouldn’t reveal a name.

Construction of Mobileviz was conducted completely in California, though Gile said some of the work on a second planned mobile studio may be contracted out to Idaho companies.

On Oct. 1, Sliverdraft also opened its Eagle Road film and television studio. It features a 15,000-square-foot sound stage that’s the largest in the Pacific Northwest and another 10,000-square-foot studio capable of draining 2,000 gallons of water per minute. The facility can also host events, concerts and stage productions.

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